December 13, 2019

Dietary intake and sources of potassium in a cross-sectional study of Australian adults

K A Bolton et al, 2019. Dietary intake and sources of potassium in a cross-sectional study of Australian adults, Nutrients, Volume 11 (12).


A diet rich in potassium is important to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study assessed potassium intake; food sources of potassium (including NOVA level of processing, purchase origin of these foods); and sodium-to-potassium ratio (Na:K) in a cross-section of Australian adults. Data collection included 24-h urines (n = 338) and a 24-h diet recall (subsample n = 142). The mean (SD) age of participants was 41.2 (13.9) years and 56% were females. Mean potassium (95%CI) 24-h urinary excretion was 76.8 (73.0-80.5) mmol/day compared to 92.9 (86.6-99.1) by 24-h diet recall. Na:K was 1.9 (1.8-2.0) from the urine excretion and 1.4 (1.2-1.7) from diet recall. Foods contributing most to potassium were potatoes (8%), dairy milk (6%), dishes where cereal is the main ingredient (6%) and coffee/coffee substitutes (5%). Over half of potassium (56%) came from minimally processed foods, with 22% from processed and 22% from ultraprocessed foods. Almost two-thirds of potassium consumed was from foods purchased from food stores (58%), then food service sector (15%), and fresh food markets (13%). Overall, potassium levels were lower than recommended to reduce chronic disease risk. Multifaceted efforts are required for population-wide intervention-aimed at increasing fruit, vegetable, and other key sources of potassium intake; reducing consumption of processed foods; and working in supermarket/food service sector settings to improve the healthiness of foods available.

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